More on Simple – How to

Half Lilly

Here is another example of keeping things simple. This image is all about the light and composition. Even the depth of field is simple – everything is in focus, front to back. But there is the rub. Keeping all of this in focus was not simple. This close up was shot with a 105mm macro lens at f32 but that did not keep everything in sharp focus. To get things sharp from front to back I had to take three exposures with the focal point different for each one: front edge, stamen and back interior. Fortunately there are great tools like Photoshop CS5 that allow you to align and blend three images with just a couple mouse clicks.

Here is how you do that:

  1. Import your set of exposures as separate layers in Photoshop.
  2. Select all of the layers.
  3. On the Edit pull down menu select Auto-Align Layers.
  4. In the Auto-Align popup box select “Perspective” and click OK.
  5. When that is done go back up to the Edit menu and select Auto-Blend Layers… and select “Stack Images” in the popup box. Click OK.
  6. At this point you should have a nicely blended image with only the sharp focus section of each exposure used.
  7. If there are some artifacts or errors on Photoshop’s part, you can go in and touch up the Mask layers, created by Photoshop, with a brush as needed.
  8. Flatten out the layers and you are done.
  9. Now wasn’t that simple?
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